Major reforms not on agenda in Parl session: FM

Major reforms not on agenda in Parl session: FM

Hints at tax sops ahead of elections 

The government on Monday hinted that game changing financial legislations were not in its agenda in the Parliament session beginning from Wednesday but would not refrain from some tinkering with taxes in the vote-on-account to benefit the masses ahead of elections.

After the announcement, all high octane reform bills such as Goods and Services Tax, Direct Tax Code and Insurance amendment bills have been put off for the new government which takes over after general elections.  

“We cannot propose amendments to the Income Tax Act, Customs Act or the Excise Act. But any proposal short of amending a law can be made. We can also outline vision for the future,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here  ahead of the Parliament session.

On Insurance Bill, which seeks to raise FDI cap in the sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, Chidambaram said it was not likely to be taken up. "In the Insurance Bill the opposition parties have made it very clear they will not let it be passed,” Chidambaram said.
He also said that there was no consensus among states on the Goods and Services Tax. The government is also not likely to push the Direct Taxes Code (DTC), which seeks to replace the over 50-year-old Income Tax Act, 1961.

The Finance Minister, however, said the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill was high on his priority list and that the Shah Commission report, containing findings of illegal mining, would be tabled in Parliament along with the action taken report.

Chidambaram also urged political parties to debate on the vote-on-account. “I said today (Monday) at the all-party meeting, I would be very unhappy if the vote-on-account is passed without a discussion. I wanted a discussion, I have asked all of them to please participate in the discussion before the vote-on-account is passed," Chidambaram said. The extended winter session of will begin on  Wednesday.

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